Elderly care services strengthened to cope with China’s aging population

According to statistics issued by the National Working Commission on Aging (NWCA), by the end of 2017, the population in China aged 60 and above hit 240 million, meaning that nearly four working people now have to support one senior. By 2020, that figure is projected to exceed 255 million, cctv.com reported.

That puts the traditional family-based support system for the elderly under enormous pressure. Normally, Chinese couples born after the 1970s who are the only child in their family have to shoulder the responsibility of supporting four seniors and raising a child.

The Chinese society is aging alongside societal changes such as urbanization, informatization and agricultural modernization, which adds to the fact that more children are financially unable or have little time to take care of their parents.

To cope with the aging population and implement a family-based support system, China is adopting new policies and fostering a social environment in which senior citizens are respected, cared for and can live happily throughout their golden years.

Li Zhihong, deputy head of NWCA’s policy research office, said the commission is working toward a number of targets, firstly that 30 percent of all nursing care beds should be for the elderly, a proposed 90 percent of elderly people will be covered by basic pension schemes and more than 95 percent of the elderly population are to be covered by basic medical insurance.

East China’s Shandong province has created a model that launches medical care at elderly care centers and opens old-age care centers within hospitals. Wu Lian, a county in Shandong, plans to build more than 120 health centers which will help around 150,000 people.

Taking care of a disabled senior costs a considerable amount of money for a family. Since 2016, China has piloted long-term elderly care insurance in 15 cities, covering 48 million people.

In Nantong in east China’s Jiangsu province, disabled seniors who are covered by social insurance are able to receive an allowance whether they live at a care center or at home.

Long-term elderly care insurance has already been introduced in Shanghai, Chongqing and Changchun, where 50,000 people are currently covered, with the reimbursement rate reaching 70 percent.